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Celebrities, officials to serve at Italian Thanksgiving fundraiser

Posted: November 20, 2011 - 12:01am  |  Updated: November 20, 2011 - 12:10am
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Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle served Mabel Presnell (from left), Doris Bloomer and Sue Rambaugh at the 2010 Italian Thanksgiving Feast fundraiser at the Garlic Clove. The 11th annual event will be Monday at the restaurant in Evans.  File
File
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle served Mabel Presnell (from left), Doris Bloomer and Sue Rambaugh at the 2010 Italian Thanksgiving Feast fundraiser at the Garlic Clove. The 11th annual event will be Monday at the restaurant in Evans.

Dozens of local officials, celebrities and media personalities will be serving lunch at
the 11th annual Italian Thanksgiving Feast on Monday at The Garlic Clove restaurant in Evans.

The annual dinner raises funds for Columbia County Cares food pantry and the Golden Harvest Food Bank, in which diners receive a meal from a set menu in return for monetary donations to the food banks.

“There’s no better way to enjoy the holiday season than to know you helped somebody,” event organizer and Columbia County Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker said. “You’ve had a good meal and you’ve helped someone else get a good meal.”

The Italian-style meals are served by celebrity servers in shifts from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Dine-in and take-out meals are available.

Garlic Clove owner Jeff Freehof said he expects to serve more take-out meals this year. Calling orders in ahead of time and making a donation at pick-up is acceptable.

“We just realized not everyone can get out of work,” Freehof said.

For the first time, credit card machines will be available to make donations.

Donations at the event peaked in 2007 with $6,125, but dropped to $2,560 last year.

“I think our biggest year was $6,000 and I’d like to hit that again,” Freehof said. “I’m hoping this will be our best year.”

Proceeds will be split equally between the two food banks.

The menu for the event includes antipasto salad, baked ziti with meat sauce, pasta alfredo, chicken parmesan and homemade bread, with diners receiving all of the items.

In addition to the Garlic Clove, sponsors for the event include Edible Arrangements, Allegra Printing and Imaging, Fehrman Investment Group,
1-Hour Optical, Columbia County, the Murphy Allstate Agency, Super Saver Coupons and ACHS Insurance.

Tucker said a casual setting with the more than 30 local officials and personalities offers a good chance to talk about issues with them.

“It is wonderful to have this kind of participation and interest,” Tucker said. “It gives them a chance to sort of talk to each other, network, share, meet, greet. ... People are missing an opportunity if they don’t come to the event.”

Servers scheduled for the event include radio talk show host Helen Blocker Adams; Columbia County Commissioners Trey Allen, Charles Allen and Bill Morris; Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle; Columbia County Magistrate Judge Bobby Christine; Bill Kay, former NFL player for the Oilers and the Chargers; Neil Gordon from the Buzz on Biz; Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson; Cliff Bennett of Eagle 105.7; Jennie Montgomery, Archith Seshadri, Brittany Jones and Jenna Lee Thomas of WJBF-TV; Austin Rhodes and Mary Liz Nolan of WGAC; Columbia County School Board trustee Mike Sleeper; Jake Wallace, Mark Barber, Teri Hornstein and Rachel Ann Moore of Fox 54; Blaine Bailey of Super Saver Coupons; Katie Beasley, Vicki Graf, Meredith Anderson, Tom Campbell, Richard Rogers, Tim Strong and Sheli Muniz of WRDW-TV; Donnie Fetter and Barry Paschal from The Columbia County News-Times; Rich Rogers, Jeff Rucker and Ashley Campbell of WAGT-TV; Harlem City Councilman John Thigpen; and Courtney Starr of WBBQ.

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